IV. Of the forging of the Sword that is called The Wrath of Sigurd
Now again came Sigurd to Regin, and said : “Thou hast taught me a task
Then answered Regin the master : “The world must be wide indeed
“Yea wide is the world,” said Sigurd, “and soon spoken is thy word;
Then spake the Master of Masters, and his voice was sweet and soft,
A slim and lovely lady, and the old moon lay on her arm :
Lo, here is a sword I have wrought thee with many a spell and charm
And all the craft of the Dwarf-kind; be glad thereof and sure;
Mid many a storm of battle full well shall it endure.”
Then Sigurd looked on the slayer, and never a word would speak :
Then Sigurd laughed and answered: “The work is proved by the deed;
Then Regin trembled and shrank, so bright his eyes outshone
And down amongst the ashes he cast the glittering hilt,
And turned his back on Regin and strode out through the door
And for a many a day of spring-tide came back again no more.
But at last he came to the stithy and again took up the word:
Then sweetly Regin answered : “Hard task-master art thou,
Hath surely left my right-hand if this sword thou shalt no praise.”
And indeed the hilts gleamed glorious with many a dear-bought stone,
As Sigurd cried: “O Regin, thy kin of the days of old
Were an evil and treacherous folk, and they lied and murdered for gold;
And now if thou wouldst bewray me, of the ancient curse beware,
And set thy face as the flint the bale and the shame to bear :
Must tremble nought at the road, and the place where men-folk die.”
White leaps the blade in his hand and gleams in the gear of the wall,
But strode off through the door of the stithy and went to the Hall of Kings,
And was merry and blithe that even mid all imaginings.
But when the morrow was come he went to his mother and spake:
Hast thou kept them through sorrow and joyance? hast thou warded them trusty and well?
Where hast thou laid them, my mother?"
Then she looked upon him and said:
"Art thou wroth, O Sigurd my son, that such eyes are in thine head?
"Nay," said he, "nought am I wrathful, but the days rise up like a wall
For therein is the light of battle, though whiles it lieth asleep.
Now give me the sword, my mother, that Sigmund gave thee to keep."
She said: "I shall give it thee gladly, for fain shall I be of thy praise
So she took his hand in her hand, and they went their ways, they twain;
Were as bright in the hilts and glorious, as when in the Volsungs' hall
It shone in the eyes of the earl-folk and flashed from the shielded wall.
But Sigurd smiled upon it, and he said: "O Mother of Kings,
They shall shake the thrones of Kings, and shear the walls of war,
And undo the knot of treason when the world is darkening o’er.
They have shone in the dusk and the night-tide, they shall shine in the dawn and the day;
They have gathered the storm together, they shall chase the clouds away;
They have ended many a story, they shall fashion a tale to be told :
They have lived in the wrack of the people; they shall live in the glory of folk :
They have stricken the Gods in battle, for the Gods shall they strike the stroke.”
Then she felt his hands about her as he took the fateful sword,
So great and fair was he waxen, so glorious was his face,
So young, as the deathless Gods are, that long in the golden place
She stood when he was departed: as some for-traviled one
Comes over the dark fell-ridges on the birth-tide of the sun,
And he sees the world grow merry and looks on the lightened ways,
While the ruddy streaks are melting in the day-flood broad and white;
Then the morn-dusk he forgetteth, and the moon-lit waste of night,
And the hall whence he departed with its yellow candles' flare:
But swift on his ways went Sigurd, and to Regin's house he came,
Then he spake:
"Will nothing serve thee save this blue steel and cold,
The bane of thy father's father, the fate of all his kin,
The baleful blade I fashioned, the Wrath that the Gods would win?"
Then answered the eye-bright Sigurd: "If thou craft wilt do
Yet the hand of the Noms is lifted and the cup is over-full.
Repentst thou ne'er so sorely that thy kin must lie alow,
And, doubting the gold and the wisdom, wouldst even now appease
Blind hate and eyeless murder, and win the world with these;
O'er-late is the time for repenting the word thy lips have said :
Thou shalt have the Gold and the wisdom and take its curse on thine head.
To do the deed or leave it : since thou hast shown mine eyes
The world that was aforetime, I see the world to be;
And woe to the tangling thicket, or the wall that hindereth me!
And short is the space I will tarry ; for how if the Worm should die
And knit these shards together that once in the Branstock stood?
But if not and a smith's hands fail me, a king's hand yet shall be good;
And the Norns have doomed thy brother. And yet I deem this sword
Is the slayer of the Serpent, and the scatterer of the Hoard."
Great waxed the gloom of Regin, and he said : "Thou say est sooth
But as fair and great as thou standest, yet get thee from mine house,
For in me too might ariseth, and the place is perilous
With the craft that was aforetime, and shall never be again,
When the hands that have taught thee cunning have failed from the world of men.
Not thus were the eyes of Odin when I held him in the snare.
Depart! lest the end overtake us ere thy work and mine be done,
But come again in the night-tide and the slumber of the sun.
When the sharded moon of April hangs round in the undark May ."
Hither and thither a while did the heart of Sigurd sway;
Though nought belike they beheld him, and his brow was sad and wise;
And the greed died out of his visage and he stood like an image of old.
So the Noms drew Sigurd away, and the tide was an even of gold.
And the fond unnamed desire, and the hope of hidden things;
And he wended fair and lovely to the house of the feasting Kings.
But now when the moon was at full and the undark May begun,
Like an image of deeds departed and days that once were good;
And he seemed but faint and weary, and his eyes were dim and dazed
As they met the glory of Sigurd where the fitful candles blazed.
Then he spake :
" Hail, Son of the Volsungs, the comer-stone is laid,
Then Sigurd saw it lying on the ashes slaked and pale
That swallowed the runes of wisdom wherewith its sides were scored.
No sound did Sigurd utter as he stooped adown for his sword,
But it seemed as his lips were moving with speech of strong desire.
White leapt the blade o'er his head, and he stood in the ring of its fire
And he cried aloud in his glory, and held out the sword full length.
As one who would show it the world; for the edges were dulled no whit.
And the anvil was cleft to the pavement with the dreadful dint of it.
But Regin cried to his harp-strings : " Before the days of men
And my hand alone hath done it, and my heart alone hath dared
To bid that man to the mountain, and behold his glory bared.
Ah, if the son of Sigmund might wot of the thing I would,
Then how were the ages bettered, and the world all waxen good!
And the hope of man that dieth and the waste that never bore!
How should this one live through the winter and know of all increase!
How should that one spring to the sunlight and bear the blossom of peace!
No more should the long-lived wisdom o’er the waste of the wilderness stray;
And what if the hearts of the Volsungs for this deed of deeds were born,
How then were their life-days evil and the end of their lives forlorn?"
There stood Sigurd the Volsung, and heard how the harp-strings rang,
And the road that leadeth nowhere, and the ship without a helm :
But he spake :"How oft shall I say it, that I shall work thy will?
If my father hath made me mighty, thine heart shall I fulfill
With the wisdom and gold thou wouldest, before I wend on my ways;
No word for a while spake Regin; but he hung his head adown
So they twain went forth abroad,
And as clean as the careless water the laboured fleece was sheared.
Then Regin spake : " It is good, what the smithy ing-carle hath wrought:
Therewith was the Wrath of Sigurd laid soft in a golden sheath